Love makes you even more vulnerable…

…but, I do still believe that love wins.

But, on a day like today, it’s so very hard.

The irony of the tragic events of today, for me, is that I woke in the night feeling even more vulnerable than usual now that I have a brand new grandson to think about in this, so often, scary world.

Having four children has always been a double-edged sword, as all parents know.  The more you love, the more vulnerable you are to unimaginable pain if anything were to ever hurt the ones you love the most…especially the most innocent, like the victims of todays horrific shootings.

But, what started my focus on the realities of the world we live in came to me as a passed a park yesterday, and witnessed a child laughing as a parent pushed him on a swing.

You see, that’s not a sight you would have seen very often at this particular park.

Unfortunately, in the State of Florida there is a ridiculous number of predators and sexual offenders.  Of course, this is just the ones who are registered.  For every registered offender, there are probably around 5 that are either never caught or who somehow have their record expunged on a technicality.

And this park that I passed yesterday, Kittinger Park in the heart of Orlando, has been the scene of untold “sting” operations over the past couple of decades.  As is so often the case, where children gravitate:  parks, schools, churches, so do the pervs.  And this particular park was so bad that the county had to completely level it…to the dirt.  They had to remove all the trees and any enclosed structure….

So, now you can see everything that takes place at Kittinger Park.  Now it’s used for the purpose for which it was intended.

And I found great joy and hope in that child’s happiness as he swung, without a care, on that swing.  He didn’t know about the predators that had frequented that ground before him…

…and, of course, my hope and joy turned to more pensive ponderings as I thought about the newest member of my family…as I thought about my desire to protect him…as I vowed to do everything in my power to keep him from harm.

And I woke this morning knowing that I would write something today…appeal to the adults out there with there own little ones.  I knew I would ask you to be mindful…vigilant to the dangers around you – especially if you live in the State of Florida.

Educate yourself as to the status of those around your child.  Don’t assume that just because someone is a part of your church – or even standing in your pulpit every sunday – that they are not capable of great harm.

I knew I was going to remind everyone who reads my words to put the protection of children as the highest priority…

And then, of course, I heard about the tragic events of today – and I thought that I would save my words for another time.

But, then I thought about it more…

and I thought about how I wish someone had payed more attention to the people around me when I was a child.

Today we have been torn apart, collectively.  Today we should just take a moment to pray for everyone affected by the tragic events that took place in that school.  And today we should stop and love those around us – hug our children…think about them.

And part of that loving comes in the form of being a protector…not being apathetic or blinded by the manipulations of those who would harm them.

If we don’t protect them, who will?

Byron and I will continue to pray for the people of Newtown, Connecticut.  We will continue to pray for the families affected, and we will continue to beg God to protect the most innocent among us.

Yes, loving more does make us more vulnerable to pain, but what is life without love?

Love does win, but sometimes it takes a fight.

(God help us).